Imagine the excitement when yours truly found out we were headed for Lorne and Victoria’s Great Ocean Road for the launch of the 2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650. Having reviewed plenty of bikes already, this would be this writer’s first ever launch.
So many questions about what to pack, the weather, so many things to decide. Enough about that though, we jumped in the car with another seasoned bike journo and headed for Sydney Airport. An hour or two later, we were in Melbourne.
Eight of us piled into a shared maxi cab and headed to our first accommodation stop, the Pentridge Hotel in Coburg; a beautifully transformed old prison that has been turned into an amazing hotel and facilities.
The next morning we set off to Lorne, where a fleet of Super Meteor 650 bikes awaited our arrival. Our first impressions were good, it’s got a nice stance, a look of comfort and all without being intimidating.
Available as the Astral, Interstellar or Celestial spec, the latter is a Touring setup with a small windscreen and one piece dual seat. It’s the first bike we jumped on. What followed was a 155km loop on dry and wet roads, in the rain and sunshine.
There was even a small mud section (roadworks). We returned from our first experience of the new Royal Enfield offering with a massive smile on our face and were very impressed by the little cruiser.
The gear box offers similar traits, with no false neutrals, and it will pull, even in fifth and sixth gears, making overtaking comfortable and easy. Something that did surprise is just how rock solid the handling is.
The Super Meteor 650 features a new upside down Showa fork, and even when pushing through the twisties and wet sections, it didn’t miss a beat. Riding “spiritedly” tested the limits of the cruiser, but it far exceeded any expectations we had of its capabilities.
It felt nimble and flickable when it really shouldn’t, and we found it wouldn’t have mattered what bike we were riding, we couldn’t have gone much faster through the corners. It felt just as stable at low speeds while navigating traffic as it did on the highway too.
Braking from the single disc front and rear was sufficient without being mind blowing, working best when combining the two together. We did find the limits of the front end a couple of times, with ABS kicking in, but everything felt controlled and comfortable.
The screen on the touring model offered good protection and we had very little buffeting. The combined digital and analogue instrument cluster is a nice bit of kit too – it’s easy to read and use, and offers a decent amount of information.
After a presentation about the bike and a feed, it was time for bed. Day two brought with it improved weather and a chance to test the Astral (non-touring) variant. The first thing I noticed is that the seating was not as comfortable, along with the lack of wind protection.
We zipped through some great twisties on our way to Anglesea, where we stopped for a quick coffee break ahead of a return to Lorne, and the end of my first launch experience. We were also left suitably impressed by the capabilities of the Super Meteor 650.
It’s a bike that far exceeded our expectations, would make a great commuter, and legitimately won’t disappoint. Riders “downsizing” from larger cruisers or re-entering the market after some years out will love it too.
Hard to fault for its $11,990 ride away price, our only issue came in the form of mirror placement, with our shoulders blocking a portion of the view. A set of aftermarket touring mirrors would rectify this easily.
The entry level model comes in Astral Black and Blue, while the Interstellar is only offered in Green. The touring model (our pick of the offerings) can be had in Celestial Blue and Red. In terms of pricing, the mid-range is $200 dearer and the top model is $500 more.
The 2023 Super Meteor 650 comes with 3-year warranty and 3-years roadside assistance. That’s exceptional value for a bike of this quality. You can find out more on the Royal Enfield website.
Our test bike was provided as part of a multi-day media launch. To find out more about the 2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650, contact you local Royal Enfield dealer.